Stagnant wages, rising costs. For the longest time this formula that cannot be solved meant little to me, because I was earning good money and spending little of it. Now I’m earning much less money for roughly tripled living expenses, and a great deal of my pay goes to just getting back and forth to work: I bought a car and now must pay maintenance, insurance and gas for it. That gas is flirting with costing $3 a gallon at even the cheapest station — and by flirting I mean shucking its clothes with the zeal of a porn star doused in Spanish fly — is just part my financial depression.
The other part will seem ridiculous, but here goes: The bean and rice quesadilla I get almost daily for lunch at Anna’s Taqueria has risen in price to $3.35 from $2.95, which means at the checkout I’m paying $3.52 instead of $3.20. This happened last week. (The previous rise at the checkout had been a relatively harmless 10-cent step in June of last year.)
Some menu items have risen less in price — the chips and mini quesadillas have gone up 10 cents. And some menu items haven’t risen in price at all — guacamole is still 55 cents.
Unfortunately, I never buy mini quesadillas or guacamole. My lunch has jumped in price by 10 percent, and I drive some 90 miles a day in a car bound inevitably to break down part by part powered by a terrorist-friendly, environmentally unfriendly substance the price of which is rising inexorably, even as my wages stay the same.
How will I vote in 2008? For someone who truly understands diplomacy and who will not casually toss it aside to exacerbate unrest among petrostates in pursuit of “democracy” or armageddon. For someone who has an energy policy that moves us away from hydrocarbon fuels and global warming. For someone who seems to understand that I, not the richest 1 percent, need to see some improvement in my paycheck and bank account.
Stagnant wages, rising costs. To keep up, I could skip the bean and rice part of the quesadilla and just get cheese. That costs $2.90, up from $2.60, which should put me right back to paying $3.20 per day for lunch.